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Johne Raised an Interesting Question...


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Johne, thank you for answering my question. (And as far as seeing the world different from most folks, I think we have that in common, although in different ways.)

 

I'm having a problem here. @suspensewriterquestion was how to get new readers and the non-saved to read. Three different people are schooling me on Tolkien's opus. (Oh, come on. Let's get real. He wrote one story, but it was massive, epic, and memorable. So, yeah. His opus. I'm hoping we can agree on that part.) But, that wasn't SW's questions. That was my questions. I do find it interesting. (And @Asia Johnsonway too late for the shortened version. 😆 Still appreciated, but by the time I saw your response, I had already read Johne's, the article he linked to, and Jeff's.) And yet, not SW's question.

 

Do we start a Tolkien thread in General Discussion, or do we continue here. There is only one person to answer that. SW. Honestly, I won't be offended if you do ask us to start a new thread, considering you started one after Johne responded to you earlier. So, what say you?

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@Spauldingi wasnt trying to school you ... it’s just something I’m passionate about. 
I gave my opinion to SW’s question, then followed the flow of the discussion. Honestly would really want to hear someone else’s ideas cause I genuinely can’t think of anything else. 
 

Paralleling is the first thing that came to my mind because it was something someone else suggested to me, though he wasn’t talking about Christian morals. I work for a political education organization and I voiced my concerns about censorship when I enter the realm of being an author. The head graphic designer suggested I be more subtle about my beliefs and morals in my stories by paralleling and sneaking in messages or lessons. The advice has just stuck with me, and I have since added on to the idea. 

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7 hours ago, Asia Johnson said:

The head graphic designer suggested I be more subtle about my beliefs and morals in my stories by paralleling and sneaking in messages or lessons.

 

There is a venerable history of doing this in scripture. The parables of Jesus are a great example, but my favorite example comes from the Old Testament where the prophet Nathan used this method to address the great sin of King David.
http://www.storyofbible.com/nathan-confronts-king-david-david-repents-of-his-sin.html

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3 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

@Asia Johnson Apparently, I needed schooling, or wouldn't have been schooled. I don't consider "schooled" a bad word. It's a good word. And, I'm not objecting to what you're doing. I know I can get way off track, and thought I'd ask before wandering from side path to rabbit trail. 😊

oh, ok. I’ve only ever heard it as the other person is being a know it all. 

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16 hours ago, Spaulding said:

There is only one person to answer that. SW. Honestly, I won't be offended if you do ask us to start a new thread, considering you started one after Johne responded to you earlier. So, what say you?

 

No, keep going.  I've been out of touch with a power failure.  But I'm finding this discussion fascinating!

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2 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

 

No, keep going.  I've been out of touch with a power failure.  But I'm finding this discussion fascinating!

Important question first: Are you in the land of electricity again?

 

(And I will respond, but have to water my garden before dinner.)

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@Johne  I also assume about any movie I've ever seen. I assume it will be good and be a credit to its purpose. (Most writers talk themes, but I'm more application oriented, so I look for what the creator wanted to get across.)

 

While you love mysteries/detective stories, I'm mostly into anthropomorphic characters, and nature as the antagonist kinds of stories. (That's why I love Charlotte's Web.) That explains why I liked Lewis's story better than Tolkien's. (My favorite characters were Tomas and the furry critters. I particularly loved the married beavers. Had Hobbits been furry more than their feet, I'd probably love Tolkien's story better.)

 

But have you noticed the commonality of Charlotte, Tomas, Beaver and his wife, besides the fur? They're steadfast, good, and determined. They are Frodo and Sam. They're out to help others. ("I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise. And I aim to keep it.") That's my character type, so I don't see it as a link to evangelism.

 

I can see Boromir as Peter. Jonah. Paul. The Prodigal Son. Me. And I do get Gandalph's death and resurrection, although he isn't Jesus or saved. So, yeah, I see Christian elements in it. But that Ring is evil. We humans do want one thing to control us all, but, like the Ring, it's any way, except God's way. That's the fallenness of us, not the good in us. 

 

And, as far as it saving anyone. Hubby was partnered with a dear friend for 15 years at work. The two of them worked together, talked about everything, and hung out (with a third coworker/friend.) And, of course, hubby talked to him about the gospel. So, the friend went from left-wing agnostic to right-winged Catholic. 15 years later, and nothing has changed, (besides we're older and we lost the third friend.) The guy who wrote that article and hubby's friend have something in common. They've accepted that there is a god and assume they are fine with their god. It's harder to talk to such people because they are now "spiritual."

 

I did google to see if anyone was saved by LotR. (The movie was "saved" for a multitude of reasons, that I don't care about.) The closest I came to, (that I didn't have to pay to read the rest of the article), was a site that spoke of its myths, some of its "Christian" points, and the "core" Catholic parts. Its "Christian" message is very disheartening.

 

" In the Shire, the Hobbits come naturally to living a beatific life that Christ calls Christians to live by. The Hobbits are the meek that inherit the earth, the merciful who receive mercy, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers."

 

Must be a different Shire. The one I remember had very judgmental residents, who liked to steal, work as little as possible, party, garden and write. Sure. I'd love to live there, (not working, garden and write -- right up my alley), but that's my fallen nature talking too.

 

And I do know people respond to redemption stories. (Ask a Philadelphian about it, and Rocky is in our top three list.) But, unless the Lord interacts, there is still no redemption in the people who like them.

 

The main purpose to my story is to have grade-school children think for themselves. Will that save them? Of course not. But I am hoping if they think for themselves, they won't automatically accept the indoctrination. So, when someone does come to them with the gospel, their door isn't shut and bolted.

 

If my purpose was to teach children the gospel, it would be nonfiction.

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On 8/12/2021 at 1:49 PM, Jeff Potts said:

Numenorean (sp:?)

I googled and Google agrees with your spelling.

 

But, holy schmoley, Brother. You need to publish this. I found Tolkien's writings too flowery for me. (Merely the difference between European writers and American writers, so I know that's more about upbringing, than a flaw on his part.) Because of that, I couldn't go beyond reading the Hobbit, but, like I said, I do love the movies, and have seen them annually. But you sure did school me on it. (And the positive meaning of that word.)

 

Better yet, you clearly showed the differences between the world's view, and God's reality. Definitely worth refining this to publish somewhere that gives it many readers. (If I were a teacher, I'd stick three gold stars on the top of your paper... even if I was teaching university level.)

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@Asia Johnson I agree with you mostly. I will also add Frodo, because he carried the burden, which became heavier and heavier, and brought more pain. 

 

On 8/12/2021 at 1:53 PM, Asia Johnson said:

(there are a few moments when he doesn't, but you don't want perfect characters in any story)

 

But if we're telling a story about Christ, we do want a perfect character. After all, he was 100% innocent, so he could be our sacrificial lamb and scapegoat in one.

 

To me, that is the biggest problem with fantasies used to tell something about the gospel. We want flaws because we are flawed, therefore we don't feel so bad. The world's answer, "Oh, well. No one is perfect." But Jesus went into great lengths to describe how perfect God demands us to be. (Matt 5:19-48)

 

The thing I repeatedly see in fiction that's supposed to have allegories about God is they describe a god the world wants to see. The one who loves everyone and will have everyone go to heaven. And if I'm OK and you're OK we have no need of Christ.

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1 hour ago, Spaulding said:

I googled and Google agrees with your spelling.

 

But, holy schmoley, Brother. You need to publish this. I found Tolkien's writings too flowery for me. (Merely the difference between European writers and American writers, so I know that's more about upbringing, than a flaw on his part.) Because of that, I couldn't go beyond reading the Hobbit, but, like I said, I do love the movies, and have seen them annually. But you sure did school me on it. (And the positive meaning of that word.)

 

Better yet, you clearly showed the differences between the world's view, and God's reality. Definitely worth refining this to publish somewhere that gives it many readers. (If I were a teacher, I'd stick three gold stars on the top of your paper... even if I was teaching university level.)

 

The last paragraph in my dissertation?  It is a running theme in all of my works.  That is: power granted from On High, and not from knowledge.  It seems that modern works of fantasy work under the notion that people - us - are born with or develop powers that they use to certain ends.  Or that magical power stems from sacrifice, study, or forbidden knowledge of the arcane.  I go the exact opposite route.  Power is gifted from God.  What powers are given also change those upon whom they are bestowed.

 

This is true of the prophets and the Apostles.

 

In my novella - though it is not specifically stated - the main character (Halsedric) is raised from the dead by God, and sent out to contest with Evil.  Even the prophet that "raised" him takes no credit for his resurrection, but instead gives attribution to God Himself.

 

While I am not a huge reader of Fantasy fiction, I think this sets my writing apart from my contemporaries.

 

Another running theme is the error and folly of trying to act like God.  But that is something for a different discussion. 

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1 hour ago, Spaulding said:

@Asia Johnson I agree with you mostly. I will also add Frodo, because he carried the burden, which became heavier and heavier, and brought more pain. 

 

 

But if we're telling a story about Christ, we do want a perfect character. After all, he was 100% innocent, so he could be our sacrificial lamb and scapegoat in one.

 

To me, that is the biggest problem with fantasies used to tell something about the gospel. We want flaws because we are flawed, therefore we don't feel so bad. The world's answer, "Oh, well. No one is perfect." But Jesus went into great lengths to describe how perfect God demands us to be. (Matt 5:19-48)

 

The thing I repeatedly see in fiction that's supposed to have allegories about God is they describe a god the world wants to see. The one who loves everyone and will have everyone go to heaven. And if I'm OK and you're OK we have no need of Christ.

I agree and disagree with this. God doesn’t demand us to be perfect. It’s that mindset that turns people off from Christianity because no one can be perfect. There’s only ever been one perfect human and that was Jesus. We’ll never be able to fulfill perfection, but the more we love God, the more we will strive for it. Still, we won’t achieve it. That’s why we need Jesus and His sacrifice. I’m not saying failure should be seen as normal and okay, but no one is going to hell because they weren’t perfect, so long as they believe in Jesus and his gift of grace. 
With this mindset, I don’t like it when people write perfect characters. Unless you’re trying to reflect Jesus all the way, I don’t want to see a perfect character because it makes it seem like it’s possible for us to be perfect. Through my eyes, it downplays Jesus’s perfection. It’s unrealistic in my opinion too. 
I do agree that we shouldn’t water down scripture and make it seem like everyone is going to heaven. But it’s important to take notice that we can’t make it to Heaven by works. We can’t make it there by being perfect. The only way we can get there is through Jesus. 

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On 8/14/2021 at 3:14 PM, Asia Johnson said:

With this mindset, I don’t like it when people write perfect characters. Unless you’re trying to reflect Jesus all the way, I don’t want to see a perfect character because it makes it seem like it’s possible for us to be perfect.

 

Well, for starters, what do you mean by a perfect character.  I have never seen one in literature.  It seems like in modern literature, at the least, all the characters have flaws.

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1 hour ago, suspensewriter said:

 

Well, for starters, what do you mean by a perfect character.  I have never seen one in literature.  It seems like in modern literature, at the least, all the characters have flaws.

Yeah, I’ve never seen a perfect character before. @Spaulding sort of just implied that if a character is going to reflect Jesus, it has to be perfect. 

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